Manchester City managed to keep their race for the Premier League title on with a comfortable 3-1 win over Crystal Palace. The game was made comfortable for them thanks to Crystal Palace’s compact, passive approach which saw them rarely move out of position and press Manchester City.
City almost had a training session for the first half on how to break down a deep block, and Guardiola will have been pleased with what he saw. In this tactical analysis, I will show how they were able to exploit Palace’s deep block and how a key trend in Manchester City’s build-up could potentially be used against them in the future.
City lined up with a 4-2-3-1, which is of course very flexible depending on situations on the pitch. This flexibility allowed for them to easily create overloads and get behind the lines, which is a key area of their play I will touch on. Crystal Palace opted to play a 4-1-4-1, with a clear focus on compactness and trying to limit this space between the lines.
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